Securing the Tomb
The chief priests and Pharisees continued speaking to Pilate in Matthew 27:64 - "Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first." The enemies of Jesus did not believe that He would rise from the dead (though perhaps there may have been some concern due to the signs accompanying His death), but they feared that the people might believe such if they were not careful with His body (cf. Luke 23:48). The Jewish authorities feared that the disciples would cunningly steal His body! Of course, the disciples had no intention of doing such. They were overcome by grief and the thought surely did not even cross their minds. Sadly, it is still true today that a guilty fear makes men more watchful than a weary hope.

"So the last deception will be worse than the first" - It would be worse (in their view) for the people to think that He was the Messiah because He had risen from the dead than it would be to believe Him to be the Messiah because of His teachings. They could more easily pervert, contradict, and refute His teachings (so they thought), than to deny His resurrection. It is interesting to observe that the apostles, when the actual resurrection did take place, did not learn for seven weeks what use to make of it! Thus, it is obvious that they could not have planned a pretended resurrection.

Pilate replied to the Jewish leaders by saying - "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how" (Matt. 27:65). If the Jews already had a guard of soldiers at their disposal, then there would have been no need to ask Pilate for one. Pilate consents to their request.

"So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard" (Matt. 27:66). In order to seal the tomb, some believe that one or more cords would have been stretched across the stone that covered the opening into the tomb and then attached at each end with clay that could be marked with an official insignia (which could not be duplicated). This would make it impossible for the tomb to be secretly opened and shut after the clay hardened since the special seal would be broken in the process. Also, the seal would be a deterrent to anyone inclined to steal the body since it was a criminal offense to break a Roman seal.

It should be observed that every possible precaution was taken by Jesus' enemies to prevent deception by His disciples. The tomb was cut out of rock which would make it impossible to steal the body except by entering through the door, and the door was secured by a great stone, sealed, and guarded by Roman soldiers! Ironically, the enemies' efforts would end up providing an impressive proof that Jesus really was raised from the dead!